Fantasy, romance, young adult

Book Review: Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

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Title: Dreams of Gods and Monsters
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Length: 624 Pages, Hardback
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Rating: 2.5 Folded Pages

Review of Book 1 and Book 2.
Warning: Possible spoilers for books 1 and 2 of this trilogy.

Blurb:
What power can bruise the sky?

Two worlds are poised on the brink of a vicious war. By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera’s rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her.

When the brutal angel emperor brings his army to the human world, Karou and Akiva are finally reunited–not in love, but in tentative alliance against their common enemy. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves.

But with even bigger threats on the horizon, are Karou and Akiva strong enough to stand among the gods and monsters?

Review:
I have to be real here. I was super disappointed by this book. I was SO bored while reading, especially during the first 300 pages or so. I’m pretty sure I skimmed at least 50% of it, if not more. According to my status updates on Goodreads, I didn’t start to get interested in it until about page 464. For a 600 pages novel, that’s pretty bad.

For me, I think the novel had too much exposition. Taylor could have cut out a lot of Akiva’s and Karou’s point of view and still got the point across. She didn’t need pages and pages dedicated to how they were pining for each other. It was so annoying.

I usually hate when new characters are added in the last novel of the series but for this, I found myself enjoying the new characters POV more than the main protagonists. Of course, I have to say Zuzana’s POV was still my favorite and she’s still my favorite character. But you didn’t get much of her or Mik.

The action packed scenes were really good and I was thoroughly invested in those which saved this book from being a 1 folded page review. Honestly, I think the only reason I didn’t DNF this book is because it was the last in this series and I wanted to finish the series since I had already invested so much time in it.

I hate how disappointed I was by this novel because I LOVED the first book and the second book I thought was good. It wasn’t great but I still enjoyed it. This one, however, was so hard for me to read. I found my mind wandering a lot because it wasn’t engaging.

I really do like Taylor’s writing style, but I think she needs to cut down on the exposition and maybe stop repeating the same idea over and over, IE how much Akiva and Karou want to be together but can’t.

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contemporary, romance

Book Review: Bella’s Christmas Bake Off by Sue Watson

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Title: Bella’s Christmas Bake Off
Author: Sue Watson
Publisher: Bookouture
Length: 316 Pages, Kindle Ebook
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Rating: 2.5

Blurb:
Two best friends. One big lie. The best bake off EVER.

Bella Bradley is the queen of television baking – a national treasure. Her Christmas specials have been topping the ratings for years and her marriage to Peter ‘Silver Fox’ Bradley is the stuff of Hello magazine specials.

But this year things are going to be different.

For Amy Lane, Bella’s best friend from school, life hasn’t held quite the same sparkle. And when Amy’s husband walks out three weeks from Christmas, it seems their lives are further apart than ever.

Amy has watched Bella’s rise to fame fondly, despite the fact Bella was always a terrible cook. But when she realises that Bella’s latest Christmas book is made up entirely of Amy’s mother’s recipes, the gloves are off…

After winning a competition to appear on Bella’s TV show, Amy is going to make sure that for Bella and her viewers, this will definitely be a Christmas to remember…

Review:
I finished this novel a few days after Christmas just because Christmas was so busy and it was cute. Honestly, I can’t say much more about it than that. It was cute and Christmasy.

There were some glaring flaws for me. The first being how childish sound the main characters all sounded considering they were supposed to be around 38. I swore half the time they were 16 instead. I understand that maturity is different for everyone but this was rather annoying.

The plot was also kind of haphazard but cute. I like what Watson was trying to do even if execution wasn’t very good.

I do have to say that Watson did the character development and relationships between characters pretty well. The characters and their relationship to each other were complex and changed as the novel progressed.

Overall, I’d recommend it as a Christmas read if you can’t find much else. It read like a hallmark movie and that was A-Okay in my book.

contemporary, young adult

Book Review: Diva by Alex Flinn

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Title: Diva
Author: Alex Flinn
Publisher: HarperTeen
Length: 304 pages, Paperback
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 2.5 Folded Pages

Blurb:
In Diva, the companion to Alex Flinn’s YA novel Breathing Under Water, Caitlin is dealing with a lot. She’s living through the aftermath of an abusive relationship, she has a youth-obsessed mother who just doesn’t understand her, and she’s on a constant yo-yo diet to live up the standards of her nitpicking friends.

All Caitlin wants is to escape her not-so-glamorous life and pursue her dream of becoming a singer, but when she’s accepted into the Miami High School of the Arts, her life doesn’t magically become perfect. Yet despite some struggles to keep up with her competitive classmates and the distraction of cute new crush, Caitlin never loses her sense of humor and eventually gains the confidence to achieve her goals.

Review:
This was a disappointing reread for me. I remember loving this novel and connecting with Caitlin so much. I love to sing and I’m super shy especially when I was in high school. So I really related to her. But now, I don’t connect with her as much as I wish.

Now Caitlin annoys me. She’s childish. I feel like she acts like she’s 12 not 16. I think this might just be my age talking though. At 22, it’s a lot harder for me to connect with teenage characters. I almost wish I hadn’t reread it so it still held a good memory for me. This is a companion to Breathing Underwater (click to see my review of it), but Diva doesn’t hold the same depth or statement as that novel does and it’s saddening to see.

I can’t say much else. When the main character annoys me there’s almost nothing that can save the novel in my book. The writing was nice. I enjoy the way Alex Flinn writes and I love a lot of her books.

The side characters were interesting but because I saw them through Caitlin’s eyes I’m not sure I really understand or saw any of their real character. She has some moments of realization about them that are nice but a lot of the time the other characters are just flat because Caitlin can’t imagine more dimensions to them. Especially her mother and father.

This novel was a quick read at least which was nice. It has good memories from when I was in high school and for high schoolers I think I would recommend it but I’m not sure it’s a YA that translate well for older people.

Fantasy, new adult

Book Review: The Source by J.D. Horn

Hey everyone! This post is officially post 100 on this blog. How awesome is that?? I can’t believe I’ve made 100 posts. This blog was started May 4th, 2015 and in only 4 and a half months I put out 100 posts. Onto the book review!

Title: The Source (Savannah Witching #2)
Author: J.D. Horn
Publisher: 47North
Length: 352, Kindle Book
Genre: New Adult, Fantasy
Rating: 2.5 Folded Pages

To see my review of The Line (Savannah Witching #1) click here.

Blurb:
Graceful trees and historic buildings fill Savannah, Georgia, but beneath the city’s Southern splendor, its supernatural roots run deep. The members of local witch families grace the society pages…when they’re not secretly protecting their magical work from dark forces.

Savannah resident Mercy Taylor may now be in control of the South’s most powerful family of witches, but she’s struggling to master her newfound magic. Pregnant with her first child and still reeling from a heartbreaking betrayal, she just wants to be able to use her supernatural abilities without accidentally destroying dishes or blasting the doors off buildings.

But when Mercy’s long-presumed-dead mother suddenly returns, begging Mercy to keep her presence under wraps, the witch wonders how many secrets her family is hiding…and who she can really trust. And when the danger around her intensifies to deadly levels, Mercy knows she must discover the truth behind her family’s magic—before it destroys her.

Review:
Unfortunately, this novel suffered from sequel syndrome badly! It wasn’t nearly as interesting and well written as The Line. The characters were different than in the original and the plot seemed like a bit of a stretch.

Speaking of the characters, Mercy was SO annoying. I really enjoyed her character in the first book but in this sequel she was flaky at best and downright contradictory of herself in the worst moments. The side characters seemed to have changed personalities as well though not nearly as much as Mercy.

The plot wasn’t paced well. I felt like a lot of nothing happened for a big part of the book. I still enjoyed the majority of the book because Mercy was herself here and there and Mother Jilo was still hilarious. The ending was also well done but it definitely wasn’t as good as The Line and I almost feel like this series would have been better off if The Line was a stand alone.

dystopian, romance, young adult

Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Title: Delirium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins
Length: 401, Kindle edition
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance
Rating: 2.5 Folded Pages

Blurb:
In an alternate United States, love has been declared a dangerous disease, and the government forces everyone who reaches eighteen to have a procedure called the Cure. Living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in Portland, Maine, Lena Haloway is very much looking forward to being cured and living a safe, predictable life. She watched love destroy her mother and isn’t about to make the same mistakes.
But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena meets enigmatic Alex, a boy from the Wilds who lives under the government’s radar. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?

Review:
I did not love this book. I thought and hoped I would. The first 100 or so pages flew by but after that point it go so incredibly slow that I was legitimately falling asleep at some parts. The book could have been about 150 pages shorter and I would have liked it better. I felt like absolutely nothing happened for at least 150 pages. I understand the need of some of it but for the most part it was just plain boring.

I didn’t hate Lena. I think she was a little indecisive and a tad bit annoying but I enjoyed that she tried thinking for herself and not taking everything at face value. However, I do think that she fell a little flat as a character. I also HATED that she only changed because of a boy. Hana, her best friend for years, had no part in the change and she almost stopped being friends with Hana when Hana did try to change her. I just I hate when a guy is the only reason a girl develops. It’s just not right and it shows girls they should be dependent on boys and I’m not about that life.

Speaking of Lena’s best friend, Hana is the only character in the book I absolutely loved. She understands her limits, is an amazing friend, and is trying to fight the system but knows that she really can’t. I just really enjoy her all around.

Alex was kind of eh for me. His lines were cheesy, and he also fell flat for me. Considering he was the main reason for Lena’s change, I would have hoped he’d be a bit more 3 dimensional.

I might read the next book in the series if I find it really cheap on kindle or see it in the library but I have no desire to go out of my way to read what happens next even though it did leave off on a pretty solid cliffhanger. I think this is another dystopian book that kind of coasted on the dystopian craze that was going on when it was published.

new adult, romance

Book Review: The Pact by Karina Halle

Title: The Pact
Author: Karina Halle
Publisher: Metal Blonde Books
Length: 379, Kindle Book
Genre: New Adult, Romance
Rating: 2.5 Folded Pages

Warning!: Super steamy bits in this novel not meant for anyone under 18. Please be aware.

Blurb:
It all started with a pinky swear…

Linden McGregor is tall, rugged, and gunslinger handsome; a helicopter pilot with a Scottish brogue and charm to spare. He’s also one of Stephanie Robson’s best friends and has fit into that box for as long as she’s known him.

Beautiful, funny and an ambitious businesswoman (with one hell of an ass), Stephanie Robson is one of Linden McGregor’s best friends and has fit into that box for as long as he’s known her.

But some relationships can’t be boxed, can’t be classified, can’t be tamed.

Back in their mid-twenties and tired of the competitive hit-or-miss dating scene of San Francisco, Steph and Linden made a pact to marry each other if neither one of them were in a serious relationship by the time they hit thirty.

It sounded like fun and games at the time but as the years to thirty tick past and lovers come and go out of their lives, the pact becomes larger than life.

Sex is inevitable. Friendships are tested. Hearts are on the line.

The pact is about to change everything.

Note: due to the dirty talk and sexy times, The Pact is not meant for anyone under the age of 18. All characters in THE PACT are in their thirties, therefore this is NOT a new adult book…even though love can mess you up at any age.

Review:

Okay, so I KNOW that the author (or whoever wrote the blurb) says this isn’t a New Adult novel because they are in their 30s but from the brief time I’ve been reading new adult this definitely reads like one. I feel like it counts because the characters start off as 25 AND they don’t act quite as mature as I feel they should if she was truly trying to market this not as a new adult. Moving on!

I both liked and disliked this novel. I love that fact that it’s a stand alone in a world of series. (I won’t even get started on how sick I am of everything being a series). But I think there were definitely some scenes that should have been cut and some decisions that I didn’t quite agree with.

I ended up skipping/skimming several chapters in the last 100 pages or so because I was so sick of it dragging on. The first 150 pages were amazing. I flew through them. I loved watching the main couple realize their feelings. BUT! Once they were together the super obvious and annoying cliches of tearing them apart was awful.

I did enjoy the last 50 pages so I think it slightly redeemed itself but I can’t give this a high rating since I physically couldn’t force myself to read those chapters. I needed to know how it ended which is the only reason I didn’t DNF it. I think that says a lot.

Although I’m bagging on this book a bit, I did really enjoy it. I’m starting to think that books purely about romance might not be my thing. I love South Korean Romantic dramas so I thought I’d like novels that are similar but I could be wrong. I digress…

I really enjoyed all the characters. They were flawed and real and I loved that about them. Halle has away of making all her characters extremely distinct and I hope to be able to conquer something similar in anything I may end up writing.

Overall an enjoyable and fast read. I really enjoyed the premise and just wish it didn’t get so boring right before the end.